Chancellor's statement on Gov. Doyle's state budget

Feb. 17, 2009

Chancellor Carolyn "Biddy" Martin released the following statement today on Gov. Jim Doyle's presentation of the 2009-11 budget:

"Given the unprecedented economic problems facing the state, the nation and the world, we applaud Governor Doyle's efforts to protect higher education in Wisconsin and his recognition that quality education and research are critical to short- and long-term economic health.

"We will continue to do our best, despite the challenges of budget cuts, to help the state regain its financial footing — making necessary budget reductions while preserving educational opportunity and world-class research, teaching and outreach.

"This budget includes increased aid for low- and middle-income students and, in combination with the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at the federal level, will help preserve student access and affordability.

"The budget also includes strategic investment in university research that has the ability to stimulate the state's economy, provide jobs and find solutions to some of the world's most urgent problems. These investments and the research they permit are important to Wisconsin's families in these very tough times.

"The budget provides start-up funding for the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, the public-private partnership that will position the state at the forefront of interdisciplinary science and cutting-edge medical research. It also delivers on the state's commitment to the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative, which is run out of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. The program will allow UW-Madison and other state educational partners — public, technical and tribal — to advance essential biofuels research and support a growing biofuels industry in the state.

"This budget also makes a critical investment in retaining our top faculty. Keeping our best and brightest faculty members and recruiting other world-class scholars to Madison are essential to the state. The university's pre-eminence attracts the people and resources that enable discovery and allow us to serve the public good.

"We are, therefore, also heartened by the governor's reintroduction of domestic partner benefits in this budget proposal. The ability to offer these benefits will allow us to improve our competitiveness for faculty and staff.

"We are having campuswide discussions about the opportunities presented by the difficult economic and budgetary challenges we all face — the opportunity, for example, to clarify our priorities and enhance efficiency and effectiveness. We will work to refine our plans to deal with budget cuts in ways that advance our priorities and permit us to continue serving the state."